In line with the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) intensified campaign on cashless transactions for motorists using the expressways, NLEX Corporation is working with Easytrip Services Corporation in improving its electronic toll collection system, particularly its radio frequency identification or RFID technology. This is to encourage contactless payments and ensure physical distancing at the NLEX-SCTEX amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The move will also help DOTr’s drive for toll collection interoperability. “We are grateful to our private partners who have always demonstrated their unparalleled support in this project. We need their assistance to fast-track the needed measures in order to fully implement toll interoperability. Hindi ‘ho namin ito kakayanin mag-isa. Tulung-tulong ‘ho tayo muliat dahil sa kinakaharap nating krisis, kailangan natin bilisan,” DOTr Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said in a statement.
Among the enhancements being initiated by NLEX include the realignment and relocation of RFID antennas/sensors for better read range. Dubbed as the ‘advanced reading’ project, this covers a total of 100 lanes from Balintawak to Tarlac/Tipo, 72 of which are for the exclusive use of motorists with RFID stickers, while the 28 others function as mixed lanes which accept both cash and electronic payments. The said improvements will also increase the number of exclusive RFID lanes from 15 in February to 72 by July 2020.
The tollway company is likewise replacing the lane status indicators for greater visibility especially for those driving at night. Recently, NLEX improved the automatic entry matching feature in its toll collection system to reduce the processing of entry lane data from four hours to almost real-time.
It also finished the upgrade of RFID web servers to accommodate the increasing RFID transactions and the modification of toll fare indicators in payment lanes to enable the display of updated balance for Easytrip prepaid accounts.
“We recognize the significant role of digital technology in enhancing customer experience and preventing the spread of COVID-19. Aside from promoting safety, the improvements in RFID would translate to faster and more convenient electronic transactions in our expressway network,” said NLEX Corporation President and General Manager J. Luigi L. Bautista.
Meanwhile, as part of their efforts to adapt to the new normal, NLEX and Easytrip Corp. have offered more ways to make it convenient for motorists to avail the RFID.
These involve the opening of RFID lane installation and reloading sites in Balintawak, Bocaue, Mindanao, Karuhatan, and Angeles toll plazas; and reopening the installation and reloading sites at rest and refuel stations such as NLEX Drive and Dine, Petron Marilao, Petron Bocaue and Shell Burol. These are open from Monday to Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The RFID stickers will be free of charge but an initial minimum load of ₱500 for Class 1 and ₱1,000 for Class 2 and 3 vehicles must be paid.
Recently, Easytrip introduced the Stick-It-Yourself RFID, where Class 1 motorists can order it online and have it delivered at the comfort of their homes. The Stick-It-Yourself RFID kit comes with positioning guide, user guide, and card for reloading. It is also available in select NLEX-SCTEX toll booths in Meycauayan SB, Marilao SB, Bocaue Interchange SB Exit, Balagtas, San Fernando NB, Dinalupihan, and Tarlac.
For more convenience, motorists may top up through the Easytrip mobile application and online reloading partners such as PayMaya, Eon, GCash, Bancnet, Mastercard, Visa, UCPB, BPI, Metrobank, BDO, Coins.ph, and Smart Money. Service fees may apply. Aside from NLEX-SCTEX, the Easytrip RFID can be used in other Metro Pacific-led expressways: CAVITEX, C5 LINK, and CALAX.
“Rest assured that our teams will strive harder to keep on providing the best service for our customers,” Bautista noted.